Waitrose is extending its trial to remove 10p plastic bags in favour of 50p and 75p versions to more stores in the new year, as the supermarket continues work to reduce its environmental impact.
The retailer hopes to encourage shoppers to reuse the more expensive bags, made from tougher plastic, for longer to reduce the number of bags needed.
Waitrose trialled the removal of the 10p bags at its Botley Road store in Oxford over the past few weeks, with customers encouraged to bring in their own or buy the new, more durable options - which are recyclable and made of 100% recycled content - at 50p and 75p.
“The trial [at Botley Road] has just come to an end but was designed to help us understand how customers would respond to the removal of the 10p bags, and find a practical solution to encouraging reuse and reducing the number of bags being provided,” a Waitrose spokesman said.
The feedback had been “really positive”, with customers increasingly bringing their own bags and sales of the two new options were “significantly less” compared with the 10p bags, he added.
Waitrose plans to carry out more tests at other stores in the new year.
Head of CSR Tor Harris said: “We still have work to do, but the trial showed the potential appetite to ditch these bags in the future in favour of paying more for something they could reuse for a lot longer.”
The number of plastic ‘bags for life’ sold last year rose 26% to 1.5 billion - the equivalent of 54 a year per household, according to research released last week from Greenpeace and the Environment Investigation Agency.
The campaigners called for the price of the standard bag to be raised from 10p to 70p.